China: IFJ and NUJ condemns ban of BBC World News

Following the decision by the Chinese authorities to ban BBC World News from broadcasting in China, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its British affiliate, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) have condemned the move as a serious infringement of global media freedom. It follows on from Ofcom's decision to revoke the UK broadcast licence of the China Global Television Network (CGTN) earlier this month and is clearly designed by the Chinese government as an act of retaliation.

This photo shows the BBC logo at their Beijing bureau office on February 12, 2021. Credit: NOEL CELIS / AFP

The media regulator, China's State Film, TV and Radio Administration, said BBC World News reports did not meet broadcasting standards including "the requirement that news should be truthful and fair" and not "harm China's national interests".

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: "We denounce the decision by the Chinese authorities to revoke the BBC World News licence in China, it is a serious infringement of global media freedom. The NUJ is calling for the international community to join with us in condemning this move and offering support to the BBC".

"The move is clearly intended as retaliation and its impact is to further restrict access to accurate and reliable information. More and more countries are reverting to tactics that censor the media at a time when independent, quality journalism is more important than ever."

The BBC said in a statement: "We are disappointed that the Chinese authorities have decided to take this course of action. The BBC is the world's most trusted international news broadcaster and reports on stories from around the world fairly, impartially and without fear or favour."

The commercially funded BBC World News TV channel broadcasts globally in English. In China it is largely restricted and appears only in international hotels and some diplomatic compounds, meaning most Chinese people cannot view it.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: "China's government, or any other goverment around the world, should not be restricting the rights of media based on such vague and unjustified concepts of undermining the national interest. This is a cheap excuse used to shut any media down. Journalists must be able to carry out their job without undue pressure from governments to follow a specific editorial line. That's the way to ensure press freedom".

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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